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Monoprice Budget $99 12-inch Powered Subwoofer Review

hardisj

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#1
Up for review is the $99 monoprice 12-inch powered subwoofer. You can find the product page here:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=304&cp_id=30404&cs_id=3040405&p_id=9723&seq=1&format=2

First, here's a video review I made. It's only 10 minutes long and I discuss some things that aren't captured in the data.


If you don't want to watch that, then the data is below. But the video covers a couple extras such as cabinet resonance and port chuffing that are demonstrated and, frankly, easier to demonstrate than type about.



Max SPL Test Results (CEA-2010-A & CEA-2010-B):

My previous round of subwoofer testing was completed with 5 budget subwoofers; all 10-inch, and all under $200 shipped to your door. I frankly didn’t expect much from this Monoprice subwoofer and while it does have its quirks and leaves a lot to be desired in the sub-bass region (as many others do even at 2x the price), this subwoofer represents a great value for those looking for a little something more in the 50-80Hz region. Some thump… some wubba wubba, how you doin’ … bass. There is approximately -14dB drop in output from ~50Hz to 30Hz. While the 10inch subs I tested, which cost more, shows a higher drop in output level. And this Monoprice subwoofer bests them all in the CEA-2010-A/B tests I conducted as well.

You can see the results of each of the CEA-2010-A/B tests in the graphic below, compared directly with the previous round's winners (the Elac SUB1010 and Polk SW10). This graphic depicts the maximum SPL measured before exceeding the respective tests' distortion thresholds. You can find the full dataset in my link below:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18bz7z-xIlRJsC-bw6k4mHkuwv_uiGAMyEhgrTkjwdXc/edit?usp=sharing

1603241756027.png


1603241763652.png




FREQUENCY RESPONSE:
This graphic shows the measured frequency response, again, compared to the previous round's winners.
Note: SPL is based on 0.5vRMS input to subwoofer amplifier.
Monoprice budget 12 inch.png



Bottom Line:
Let’s be honest with ourselves. A $200 10 or 12-inch subwoofer is only going to provide so much “sub” woofing. In this price range, most of these products are nothing more than midbass modules; designed to provide some solid thump in the 50-80Hz region and take the strain off your bookshelf speakers. With that said, however, this $99 12-inch takes the term “value” to a new level.

So, this one is simple. If you aren’t fooling yourself in to thinking you are going to get the lowest of the lows and earth-shattering, ground rumbling bass at 30Hz but you don’t have the money to step up to the big boys and you are OK with settling for output that falls off below 50Hz, then this Monoprice subwoofer represents the best value powered subwoofer I have tested to date.


Oh, and no, I don't have the group delay data readily available.
 
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BillH

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#2
Up for review is the $99 monoprice 12-inch powered subwoofer. You can find the product page here:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=304&cp_id=30404&cs_id=3040405&p_id=9723&seq=1&format=2

First, here's a video review I made. It's only 10 minutes long and I discuss some things that aren't captured in the data.


If you don't want to watch that, then the data is below. But the video covers a couple extras such as cabinet resonance and port chuffing that are demonstrated and, frankly, easier to demonstrate than type about.



Max SPL Test Results (CEA-2010-A & CEA-2010-B):

My previous round of subwoofer testing was completed with 5 budget subwoofers; all 10-inch, and all under $200 shipped to your door. I frankly didn’t expect much from this Monoprice subwoofer and while it does have its quirks and leaves a lot to be desired in the sub-bass region (as many others do even at 2x the price), this subwoofer represents a great value for those looking for a little something more in the 50-80Hz region. Some thump… some wubba wubba, how you doin’ … bass. There is approximately -14dB drop in output from ~50Hz to 30Hz. While the 10inch subs I tested, which cost more, shows a higher drop in output level. And this Monoprice subwoofer bests them all in the CEA-2010-A/B tests I conducted as well.

You can see the results of each of the CEA-2010-A/B tests in the graphic below, compared directly with the previous round's winners (the Elac SUB1010 and Polk SW10). This graphic depicts the maximum SPL measured before exceeding the respective tests' distortion thresholds. You can find the full dataset in my link below:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18bz7z-xIlRJsC-bw6k4mHkuwv_uiGAMyEhgrTkjwdXc/edit?usp=sharing

View attachment 88815

View attachment 88816



FREQUENCY RESPONSE:
This graphic shows the measured frequency response, again, compared to the previous round's winners.
Note: SPL is based on 0.5vRMS input to subwoofer amplifier.
View attachment 88817


Bottom Line:
Let’s be honest with ourselves. A $200 10 or 12-inch subwoofer is only going to provide so much “sub” woofing. In this price range, most of these products are nothing more than midbass modules; designed to provide some solid thump in the 50-80Hz region and take the strain off your bookshelf speakers. With that said, however, this $99 12-inch takes the term “value” to a new level.

So, this one is simple. If you aren’t fooling yourself in to thinking you are going to get the lowest of the lows and earth-shattering, ground rumbling bass at 30Hz but you don’t have the money to step up to the big boys and you are OK with settling for output that falls off below 50Hz, then this Monoprice subwoofer represents the best value powered subwoofer I have tested to date.
Thanks for setting our expectations. I'm starting to be really happy i picked up a 15" velodyne for 10% of list on craigslist.
 

Haint

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#4
The unanimous consensus is that the Dayton SUB1200 edges this one out, hope you get your hands on one hardisj. Unfortunately post-covid the price is now much higher @ $150 (it used to consistently sell for around $110 - $120).

Also, it would be very interesting to see what 4 of these would do in a room properly aligned. Would they outperform the $400-$500 tier Speedwoofer or SVS 1000's?
 
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OP
hardisj

hardisj

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Thread Starter #5
The unanimous consensus is that the Dayton SUB1200 edges this one out, hope you get your hands on one hardisj.
I hope to one day. I did reach out to Dayton to see if they would be willing to loan me a review sample but they said they don't do that. Not sure how others get theirs... maybe they used to and do not anymore... or maybe I'm not a big enough fish.

So, until someone else can loan me one or I can get some extra cash to buy it myself, it will have to stay on my wish list.


Also, it would be very interesting to see what 4 of these would do in a room properly aligned. Would they outperform the $400-$500 tier Speedwoofer or SVS 1000's?
I'm interested in these as well. I'll try reaching out to the manufacturer and see if they'd be willing to send me a loaner for testing.
Edit: I just sent both of them an email. Odds are they won't even reply. But who knows...
I would love to be able to not have to get the manufacturers involved but unfortunately, there's just no other way because I don't know anyone with these subwoofers and can't afford to buy them myself.
 
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andreasmaaan

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#6
Also, it would be very interesting to see what 4 of these would do in a room properly aligned. Would they outperform the $400-$500 tier Speedwoofer or SVS 1000's?
They would certainly outperform a single sub in terms of combating room modes.
 

Ericglo

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#7
For $99, it looks like a good bargain. I wonder if anyone has taken it apart yet to find the issue at 100hz. If it is a simple fix, then it could increase the value quite a bit.

Now, I am really interested to see how the other two Monoprice subs compare.
 

richard12511

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#8
Just bought 2 of these for a spare bedroom system based on your review.
 

ernestcarl

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#11
While I'm very much skeptical, it would be interesting to see measurements for consumer subs that are of the 8" or 7" super compact (relatively speaking) variety tested. I've seen ones as small as 6" but... uh, extension listed is usually just 'meh'.
 

daftcombo

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#12
Hi!

Thanks for the great review.

Can you give more details about how the crossover works? Is there only a low-pass or also a high-pass?
 

Willem

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#14
While I'm very much skeptical, it would be interesting to see measurements for consumer subs that are of the 8" or 7" super compact (relatively speaking) variety tested
I just bought a KEF Kube8b subwoofer to extend the low frequency response of the Harbeth P3ESR desktop speakers in my study. This is for music only, in a 18 sq m room. I decided that I did not need or want a large sub, and this one seemed to have a good enough extension for my purpose, have a big enough amplifier, and was a sealed design. It will probably extend the response from the little Harbeths from about 75 Hz to somewhere around 40 Hz. That is more than good enough for this purpose. And it looks good. I would never use it for HT in our large listening room, of course.
For tests, see here (German publications still give measurements :)).

https://www.hifitest.de/test/bildergalerie/subwoofer_home/kef_kube_8b-kef_kube_10b_15521/4#b
https://www.lowbeats.de/test-subwoofer-kef-kube-8b-kube-10b-und-kube-12b/
 
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Haint

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#16
They would certainly outperform a single sub in terms of combating room modes.
Oh yeah for sure. My interest would be in seeing what it did for the 20 and 25Hz extension though. IIRC a second sub can generally boost output 4-6dB, does the 3rd and 4th also add 4-6dB?
 

andreasmaaan

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#17
Oh yeah for sure. My interest would be in seeing what it did for the 20 and 25Hz extension though. IIRC a second sub can generally boost output 4-6dB, does the 3rd and 4th also add 4-6dB?
No, quite the opposite actually. The second sub will add 4-6dB, but double the number to four and you only gain an additional 3dB-ish over the pair (these figures are room/placement dependent though).

Two subs is really the sweet spot in most rooms in terms of balancing room-mode mitigation with output per $.

OTOH, a lot comes down to placement: room-mode mitigation can be traded for output, in which case gains of up to 6dB can be achieved for every doubling of the number of subs.
 
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